On this snowy, Chicago, Saturday morning, sitting at my kitchen table and still wearing my fuzzy bathrobe, my heart is filled with gratitude for all of the people who made publishing my first book a reality. On this day of my book release, I just want to say that I am tremendously thankful for all of you who helped make this little dream of mine a reality.
First, to each of these eight women – Fanny, Emma, Evangeline, Amanda, Nettie, Sarah, Virginia, and Mary - this book is about them and because of them. I want the honor to land firmly at their feet, for they are the ones who walked the long and difficult road of faithful service. They have my utmost admiration. I hope, some day, to be just a bit like them.
Second, I am thankful for my Moody Publishers editor, Holly Kisly. She believed in this project from the start and understood how important it was to tell the next genreation of women these stories. My editor, Karen Waddles, made sure my ideas were clearly communicated and that I ideas I hadn't intended were removed. Pam Pugh, a detailed editor, found mistakes and corrected them. With a book this historical, there is a huge potential for error.
Many people contributed to my research, especially Dawn Pulgine, Allana Pierce, Nikki Tochalauski, Carol Forbes, and Amy Koehler. Your expertise made it possible for me to find the records I needed. Special thanks to my audience development manager, Rene Hanebutt, and her able student assistants who are sending the word out far and wide. Janis Backing is setting up publicity interviews. The illustrated cover art is by one of my former students, the gifted Jonathan Critcher, and my author photo is the work of my talented and generous dear friend, Jill Obermaier.
There are men and women at each of these organizations who continue to do God’s work today. Thank you for your assistance in this project, but most importantly for carrying on the rich legacy these women leave behind. The Salvation Army, The Pacific Garden Mission, The Moody Bible Institute, and Bethune-Cookman University and Foundation deserve our support and prayers.
Beyond those who were directly involved with the project are those who inspired me, both as a writer and as a woman. I would begin to list them, but I am fearful of leaving anyone out of this long, long list. You are my friends, my teachers, my mentors, my students, my colleagues. You have poured into my life in rich and lasting ways.
To my mom, thank you for bringing me to church so often that we needed to have our own key. Thank you for your example of teaching and loving students in need. Thank you to Julie for showing me how to keep hope and stay brave in the face of personal struggle. To each member of my family, each and every one of you, and to my husband, Milt, thank you for believing in me and for the love and laughter you bring to my life.
And finally, to my daughter, Sabrina Rose, I believe you are a great woman. You have a true heart and incredible intelligence. I am honored to be your mom.
My name may be on the cover, but it's not about me.
To God be the glory, great things He has done!